Valentín Barco is now playing at Brighton: here’s what fans need to know

The former Boca star is versatile player with a great eye for passing who also knows how to defend

Valentín Barco (19), also known as Colo (ginger), is a name that Boca Juniors fans are very familiar with. Many Xeneize fans followed his journey, from the academy and his breakthrough into the first team all the way to playing a key role in getting his club to the Copa Libertadores final in 2023. At his new home on the south coast of England, however, he is all but a stranger. Now in the Premier League with Brighton, Barco has the chance to show Europe why he is so highly rated by fans in his home country.

Valentín spent the majority of his childhood in Boca’s academy system, having arrived there at just 9-years-old. Unlike many of his teammates, he wasn’t from Buenos Aires. Born and raised 250 kilometers away in a town of just 22,000 called 25 de Mayo, his parents drove him to practice during his early days, a five-hour round trip they did four times a week. 

His parents’ efforts eventually paid off, as he debuted for Boca Juniors’ first team in 2021 at 16, making him the fourth youngest ever in club history. Despite his precocious start, it would take Barco two years to become a consistent name on the Boca team sheet.

The question is, what can Brighton fans expect from such a talented teenager?

For someone so young, Barco is a vastly versatile player. He can play in any position on the left side of the field, from left wing to left back. He is known for being a bit of a ‘showboater’, always looking to pull off a skill to embarrass his defender. This was best displayed as he stood on top of the ball in the Copa Libertadores semi-final last season for no reason other than to annoy the opposition.

In addition to his ability to embarrass the opposition, Barco has an ever present hunger to win. According to Edgardo Sánchez, the former manager of his youth team, the star has shown this quality since childhood. “He has […] that personality that allowed him to reach the First Division,” Sánchez told Argentine media outlet Infobae

His creativity is another one of his strongest attributes. With a great eye for passing, he completed 19 crosses and created 15 goal scoring chances for his teammates in the 2023 Copa de la Liga. As well as his tenacious attacking, he knows the importance of good defending, only getting dribbled past twice and winning 60% of his defensive duels in the Copa de la Liga last year. 

Barco’s potential has been well noted, as he was the most signed “wunderkid” in the PC game Football Manager 2024. He has also recently been called up to the Argentine national team for the first time and will be hoping to make his debut in the international friendlies this month.

Could Barco follow in the footsteps of successful Argentine Brighton stars like Alexis Macallister and Facundo Buonanotte? The answer will come in due time.  


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